Family Business: Haaretz's Summer Magazine

Partners, kids and siblings, food cooperative and Neanderthal DNA. What is family? Our writers set out to explore

Shira Philosof
Shira Philosof
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Credit: Illustration: Yizhar Shkedy
Shira Philosof
Shira Philosof

After two and a half years of the pandemic, and with the summer months and subsequent Jewish holiday season upon us, we thought now would be the perfect time to pause for a moment and look at family – the nearest and dearest with whom many of us have spent an awful lot of time since the beginning of 2020.

What is family? Our writers set out to explore the subject.

The one you were born into, without much say, which you spend part of your adult life analyzing and reframing, like Lebanon-born Foude Ajami, whose autobiography Itamar Rabinovich writes about.

Is it the one you build with your partner, who started, like you, in one family and together with you built another – like Vita Kairys, who put her relationship to the test when she went to buy a sofa at Ikea with her partner?

Is it the one you miraculously create when you bring a new person into the world – like Uri Talshir, who misses his baby daughter and wants us to start a conversation about the price of long-distance fatherhood?

Meirav Arlosoroff, meanwhile, explains how the Israeli paternity leave plan can give a boost to fatherhood.

Is it any less of a family if you have a child through a surrogacy procedure? Shiri Fadlon Miller poignantly tells her story.

Perhaps family is more than simply the parent-child dynamic, as Naama Riba unpacks in her interview with photographer Micha Bar-Am and his wife Orna, whose partnership has an extra layer: for decades, he captured Israel’s daily reality, while she collected, cataloged and archived his work.

And let us not forget siblings: Adrian Hennigan recounts the four words from his sister that changed his life.

Maybe an extended family could be a joint venture involving the local community, such as the Yeruham Bread Cooperative Allison Kaplan Sommer writes about.

If you ask some of the scientists who study our DNA, they will say we all have another distant family member: the Neanderthal. Ruth Schuster elaborates.

We also focus on families enduring extraordinary times, such as the Jewish teens who recounted their life stories in 1930s Europe, or the young Russian families abandoning Moscow for Tel Aviv due to the war in Ukraine.

And sometimes it really is just you, your partner and the kids. Moshe Gilad asks whether it’s genuinely a good idea to travel abroad with them – does it provide the bonding, quality time and shared experiences you dream it will?

So, take a break from the family and enjoy the summer edition of Haaretz Magazine.



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